Directed by Priyanka Banerjee ( it’s her debut ), DEVI is a short film available online. If you haven’t seen yet I would recommend you to watch it and then to read this review. A 13 minute movie with a compelling starcast. The film was released by Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films on 2 March 2020.
Here I am presenting some extracts and details from ‘Devi’ short movie, which are the essence of this movie, but might have remained unnoticed by some.
All the girls and ladies, better to say females are dead and assembled at one place after death, what we call afterlife. They are shattered. When news reporter says that whole country is filled with rage, Neha turns her face and closes her eyes, as she knows that it is all useless, people forget everything with time. Candle marches, protests etc. are just for a time period. Justice is not served even in brutal cases. As the television goes off and the ‘pee’ sound signifies that another victim has died and needs to be occupied in this house.
THE BEST SHORT FILMS
Kajol says ‘har din koi nayi ladki aayegi, kitno ko bahar rkhenge?’ It certainly signifies how frequently rapes occur. Here I won’t forget to inform you that according to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) -the annual crime report 34,000 rapes in 2018, barely changed from the year before, were reported.
Coming back to movie, there is a medical student signifies ‘Nirbhaya’ or ‘Priyanka Reddy’, and she is preparing for an exam which she will never give as she is dead and her dreams also died with her, they not only raped her, they raped her dreams too.
At one point Kajol says that don’t fight after ‘dhupbatti’ and Maushi says ‘there is no God here, who you are worshipping then?’ She is questioning the existence of God, after whatever happened with them.
Arzoo says nobody asked them to stay there together, ‘kisi ne kuch puchha thodi, bhed bakriyo ki tarah thoons diya bas,’ they were raped, and killed, there was no consent involved, they never wanted to die like this and live there. She is also shown waxing her legs without hair as she was burned to death.
DEVI gets you teary-eyed when they all tell their stories, how some were raped by old men, middle aged men and some by teenagers. It shows that criminal mentality has no age. It even included marital rape as Maushi was married when she was 12 years old, and in our country after marriage they don’t call it ‘Rape’! Sad reality ! Marital rape is something, we don’t see discussed very often.
When Neha says, she died in trauma of rape, as she survived being raped, but was not able to handle the pain, Maushi says, it was easier for you, you at least got time to cry to which a city dweller responds “If I didn’t bleed that doesn’t means I was not in pain”that signifies how traumatic the ‘after rape’ situation can be.
Kajol in the end says that we were bearing those demons there, it’s easier to stay in this afterlife than that. When the small girl enters, each one of them was shocked as they were not able to believe that situation is so worse now. Even a little girl was not spared from these hellhounds. They feel guilty that how they were fighting to send the girl away, without knowing that she is so small.
THE BEST SHORT FILMS
Someone is mute, someone is wearing shorts, someone burqa-clad. Some are middle-aged, some are young. Some are educated, some unlettered; all from different religions, cultures and backgrounds. Story fortifies that rape is irrespective of these things.
We should stop blaming women for their clothing and attitude; Instead, we should try to fix the mentality of our society and those criminal minded people, we should try to cultivate better mentality against rape in our kids and teenagers to grow a better future generation.
Kajol as Jyoti
Neena Kulkarni as Savitri, a middle aged Marathi woman ( senior among three )
Neha Dhupia as a career oriented woman
Shruti Haasan as Maya, a rich alcoholic
Shivani Raghuvanshi as medical studies aspirant
Mukta Barve as Arzu a muslim woman
Yashaswini Dayama as Zooni, a mute girl
Sandhya Mhatre as Lakshmi, a middle-aged Marathi woman
Rama Joshi, a middle-aged Marathi woman
Thank you for reading. Hope you all liked the blog. Will meet soon with another blog.
IMROZ FARHAD NOOR is a co-founder and chief blogger of NEEROZ. He studied English Literature and Journalism. A number of articles, stories, short stories, poems have been published in reputed magazines and newspapers. He writes scripts for short movies, web series. He has been a radio announcer.He loves to read Psychology and Philosophy. He spends his spare time in drawing and playing basketball. He loves to travel. He speaks Hindi, English, and Urdu. ( learning Spanish ).